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Mark of Zorro was the transition between Douglas Fairbanks' early career as a brash all-American hero and the lavish 1920s costume adventures.
This movie is part of the collection: Feature Films
Director: Fred Niblo
Producer: Douglas Fairbanks
Production Company: United Artists
Audio/Visual: sound, B&W
Keywords: western, silent
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As noted previously by some, the music is pretty bad. The good news is you can shut the sound off. Or better yet, make a new soundtrack. The film is really campy, and really thin, but the kids love it and so do I. Fairbanks was not my idea of handsome but when he puts on the mask and hat there's a great transformation. The kids all say he's ONLY handsome then. And the way he smiles before and during each fight scene is precious. I also love Marguerite De La Motte's acting. The kids say, "She's so pretty!"
Subject: mark of zorro
Subject: Douglas Fairbanks in top form
The Mark of Zorro. Outdated? Yes. But Fairbanks plays Zorro in such a charismatic way that it's hard not to root for him, particularly in the ending.
Many have said that the music was bad. I don't think so. Perhaps it doesn't suit some of the scenes and it doesn't match the rhythm and the flow of events, but the music that comes on when Zorro duels I found catchy and with a superhero tone to it that made it cahracteristic.
Mind you, the first part is hard to watch and the body of the plot is filled with cliches, but the ending is worth it. It's your average heroic ending, but it's the performance ofFairbanks that makes it worthwhile.
Cat Lady -
Subject: Oh, I don't know - worked for me
The music and movie meshed well enough that I was all ready to leap around hither and yon with an "Aha!" and "Take that! Ramon!" and "Zorro!" afterwards. There was a renaissance of buckled swash starting in the 70s, and this music definitely dates to that time, but for this modern viewer it worked pretty well. I have no idea what swashbuckling music of the 1920s sounded like - it would be wonderful if somebody here did an authentic period soundtrack for this movie.
The movie itself is uneven. There are a lot of stereotypic shots of riders racing along from left to right, and then from right to left across the screen to indicate a wild chase, and one particularly horrible shot of everybody "coming round the bend" on a dusty road while the camera just sits there aimed at the road for what feels like hours: it's kind of like watching the Iditarod.
The quality of this print, as somebody mentioned, is pretty bad in spots. Do other, better prints exist?
There are plenty of good spots here. Lolita has some terrific lines ("He's not a man, he's a fish!" and to paraphrase, 'Senor, they say you are such a good rider you become one with your horse' during the courting scene in the garden). The best part is watching Fairbanks grow into his role. I don't know if they actually filmed this in sequence, but the fight scenes appear that way. The very first one, in the inn, is almost embarrassingly clumsy and staged, with Fairbanks sitting on tables, etc, waving his hand, which has a sword in it, at Beery. There are some leaps and other pretty good athletics, and it is passable overall but feels pretty awkward. This gets better and better as the movie goes on, though, and by the time Zorro and Ramon clash, Fairbanks has hit his stride; I especially like the way he travels/rolls over the fallen couch, like a dancer, to get at his foe. And later we get into the outdoor athletics, with him climbing up vines, dancing over roofs (and being met by equally athletic pursuers, BTW!), etc.
I was glad to see Snitz Edwards in this one, serving beer, being terrorized by Beery, and flogging the governor. He looks much more healthy than he did as Fairbanks' evil "genius" in "Thief of Baghdad," where I wondered if that might have been his last film (Far from it: Here is a Snitz Edwards page, for anybody interested -- http://andersontoone.com/Snitz/Snitz_Edwards.html ).
All in well, it's not as good as some of the later costume dramas, but it's well worth watching, especially as it was the first film released by United Artists (per the AFI summary of the movie) and also, as mentioned, a transition for Fairbanks.
Subject: Weak Music
Yup, as noted previously, the music choices are pretty poor. And I doubt they are Public domain either. Some of it sounds like it came off a commercial stock music collection from the 70's. What are they doing here?
Subject: Douglas Fairbanks in Russia
Douglas Fairbanks' Zorro influenced the creation of Batman. Also, Fairbanks visited the Soviet Union in the 1930's and coached Soviet movie-making and became a member of the prestigeous Soviet Academy of Sciences (that's true.
Move over Stalin, here comes Zorro.
Subject: Good Movie, Bad Copy & Music
At one time I was able to rent and view an old 16 mm film version of this, which was in better shape, and had better music than the copy from which this particular one was apparently taken. All Douglas Fairbanks movies were phenomenal, and this one is no exception, but the presentation is in pretty bad shape in some parts and I don't know where the music came from. Some editing and a new soundtrack appropriate to the genre would do justice.
Subject: the mark of gus
douglas fairbanks as zorro----------if there was ever an actor who defined the words -swashbuckler-heroic-exciting-and fun---it had to be fairbanks. if you liked the princess bride-the pale zorro remakes or pirates of the caribbean, then youll love any douglas fairbanks movie.the mark of zorro is his first foray into the action/adventure genre, and he pulls it off beautifully . this movie sprubg off a cornucopia of like movies such as /don q son of zorro(a worthy sequel)-robin hood-the three musketeers- the black pirate-and just about every movie that combines action-adventure-comedy-and romance. a little something for everyone, and well worth watching. this version plays fast , and the musical accompanyment leaves a lot to be desired , it is still an extremely good time for all.
PINK FLOYD FAN -
Subject: NEEDS NEW MUSIC
THIS VERSION IS RUN AT A VERY FAST SPEED , THUS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN 1:15 AND 1:37 MINUTES IN VARIOUS FORMATS . THE MUSIC LEAVES A LOT TO BE DESIRED BEING MORE LIKE AN OLD SUPERMAN SOUNDTRACK , BUT THE VIDEO ALTHOUGH FAST , IS STILL A LOT OF FUN , AS ANY DOUGLAS FAIRBANKS MOVIE IS .
Subject: A classic
This is a great movie. My family and I really enjoyed sitting down to watch this silent classic from the past. Douglas Fairbanks plays his part with much fun, but he also is serious when he has to deal with the bad guys.
A movie worth watching for its historical significance and for the entertainment value as well.
Subject: Great Movie... but the Music????
Okay, the movie looked like it was going to be great... but my husband and I couldnt' get past the 70's Star Wars/Superman like music that suddenly kicked in during Zorro's first appearance at the bar. What was THAT? It didn't even have a Spanish/Mexican influence.
It pretty much ruined it for us... I'd've said that at least recorded organ music (like they used to play) would have been a bit easier to stomach.
Subject: A Masterpiece
Forget the remakes, This is the real thing. Action; romance; adventure. All linked together with a taut narrative which unfolds at great pace. Film making at its very best.
After watching this masterpiece I wondered if cinema has really advanced very much over the last eight decades or so.
Nicodemus Legend -
Subject: A classic
This film is the first screen appearance of Zorro, being made only a year after the story in which the character first appeared was published. A worthwhile watch, especially for it's historical significance.